Dear Parents and Students
A final message from JCoSS as the week draws to a close. I hope that in one way or another you have been able to access the JCoSS online curriculum this week. Several live lessons have taken place, and there is a wealth of work set in other ways. Teachers are continuing to develop their expertise, and our systems for maintaining learning and community are evolving as we all get used to new realities. We managed a video-conferenced staff briefing yesterday with 150 people in virtual attendance – I say this to reassure you that we are working as a team and communicating behind the scenes. I know things remain uneven and clunky still, but we are making progress both with setting work and with keeping in touch with families and students in particular circumstances.
Even if you are struggling with online learning, speaking from the Primary Home School that is my own house I commend to you all the value of an ongoing Life Skills lesson: cleaning, cooking, shopping (inc on behalf of the vulnerable) are all important competences for students to acquire and there has never been a better time to do so. Students, make sure that you do your Menschlich bit to keep the household running…and remember to wash your hands afterwards!
For Parents/students in Years 11 and 13
I recognise the extra uncertainty you all face at this and we are still awaiting more clarity from Ofqual. Their most recent announcements are here for GCSE/A level and here for vocational qualifications. Our best guess (it is no more than a guess) at present is that schools will be asked to provide the grade they expected each student to get (we will err on the side of generosity, as always), and perhaps an approximate rank order. The boards will then factor in a student’s past attainment where available (KS2 SATS for Y11, plus GCSE itself for Y13), the school’s record of raw grades and value-added, perhaps our track record of accuracy in forecast grades, and the expected proportions of grades across the country.
There has been talk of the opportunity for students who are unhappy with the grades they receive to sit an exam – we have no details of this yet, and we realise that makes it difficult to know whether you can relax at this point or should carry on studying. Our advice is to keep your minds supple: although we are not teaching the remainder of public exam courses, we have posted suggested ‘bridging work’ between GCSE and A level for Year 11 students. This may help clarify your minds about the courses you want to take, and if your eventual grades put you on the borderline for a course it will certainly be in your favour if you have engaged with this work. We are thinking about provision for students at risk of scoring below Grade 4 in English and Maths so that we keep their learning in those subjects going in the coming weeks and months.
We encourage Year 13s to do some preparatory reading for their university course or whatever else they hope to do next. We will support any students who need to take further exams and are working with other Jewish schools to agree some commonality of approach which may be helpful. We will be arranging proper ‘moving on’ events for these two year groups (and inviting back students who have left) when the time is right. In the meantime we will do everything we can to ensure you are not disadvantaged.
Lastly, for all…
I know there are loads of articles (not to say memes, videos, songs etc) circulating on social media but I commend to you this one from the Harvard Business Review about our collective grief. The attached resource may be a way to process the same ideas with your family.
Patrick Moriarty, Headteacher